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Poll: Politics Drives Religious Americans’ Views on the Environment

Overall, 57% of Americans believe climate change is an “extremely or very” serious problem.

Evangelicals are the only religious group in which a majority (66%) say stricter environmental laws and regulations will hurt the economy. It’s almost the reverse among unaffiliated Americans, 68% of whom don’t believe stricter environmental laws will hurt the economy.

The survey also found that climate change is not a topic discussed much in religious congregations. Only 8% said they heard a great deal about it in sermons; 70% say they hear little or nothing about it.

About half of Americans take steps to protect the environment, like reducing food waste, using fewer plastics, driving less or eating less meat. Here too, evangelicals scored lowest on these efforts, especially eating less meat.

And, the survey found, religiously affiliated Americans are less likely to be civically engaged in combating climate change — donating money to environmental groups, volunteering with such groups or attending protests.

Among Americans who attend services at least once a month, 46% said their religious congregation has recycling bins; 43% said their congregation has taken efforts to be more energy efficient. Only 8% in this group said their congregation relies on solar energy.

Americans, regardless of religious affiliation, don’t view efforts to reduce carbon emissions in moral terms. Only 10% of U.S. adults — including 8% of those with a religious affiliation — say it is morally wrong to drive a car that gets poor gas mileage.

The margin of error for the survey was plus or minus 1.6 percentage points.

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This article originally appeared on ReligionNews.com.